House of Commons Hansard #96 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was nations.

Topics

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, when the Prime Minister announced his new military strategy, he was quite vague about how much it would cost. This morning, we learned that the Department of National Defence is forecasting expenditures of about $96 billion, three times the figure that was announced. To explain this gap, a defence source told Le Devoir: “Politically, $100 billion in new defence spending, even over 20 years, is hard to sell to the public.”

Will the Prime Minister stop concealing information and tell us exactly how much his military plans will cost? Is it $30 billion or $96 billion?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Once again, Mr. Speaker, I can explain the figures. They are clear. The budget for National Defence will be $30 billion in 20 years, after the rebuilding of the forces that we have proposed. That is the annual budget. During that period, there will be capital investments of $45 billion to $50 billion. These are major investments not only for the military, but for the communities and industries that depend on the Canadian Forces.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister does not even have a foreign policy, yet he is getting ready to spend $96 billion on a defence policy even though the details and time lines of that policy are not yet known.

Will the Prime Minister promise to table a foreign policy in this House as well as a detailed plan of his military strategy so that we can debate them before he spends billions of dollars on military equipment?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have announced increases in troops and equipment. Everything is clear. I know that the Bloc is opposed to these investments in Canada's military, yet it is asking for economic spinoffs from these investments. We are doing both.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Saint-Jean, QC

A source in the defence community claims that when the Canada first strategy was presented, a detailed version of a document breaking down the nearly $100 billion was ready to go out, but it was apparently shelved because the government thought it was too detailed and controversial.

Is this not just another shameful attempt by this Conservative government to mislead the public?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary East
Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and to the Minister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, this week the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defence announced the Canada first defence strategy based on three priorities. The first priority is the defence of Canada and Canadians. The second priority is being a full partner in continental defence and playing a leadership role to preserve international stability and security. That is Canada's strategy as laid down. Included in that is long term, dependable financing. I do not understand what more they want.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, the more versions there are, the more confused the government gets. That is nothing new, since there is no national defence strategy or foreign affairs strategy. The secretary of state did not even answer my question. And there is more.

Military officials wanted to respond to media questions, but they had to refrain from doing so on direction from the government. On condition of anonymity, one of them said that it is hard to sell $100 billion in new military spending to the public.

When military officials become more voluble than the government, we know we have a serious problem with excessive control and secrecy. Is this the famous transparency the Conservative government promised us?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary East
Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and to the Minister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the DND officials briefed members of the media on the government's Canada first defence strategy. Canadians are proud that after a decade of darkness by the Liberals, this government is finally rebuilding our defence capabilities. Canadians care about that.

Energy Costs
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadian families are being hard hit by the increase in energy costs. At the pump, gas prices are at an all time high. At home, the price of natural gas has increased by 20%. At the supermarket, the price at the checkout is going up. On vacation, families have to pay surcharges on the cost of their flights.

Does the Prime Minister know that prices have been skyrocketing since he has been in power? When will he appoint an ombudsman to protect consumers?

Energy Costs
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, prices are increasing around the world. Such is the reality of the international market. The government tried to protect consumers by reducing taxes, but unfortunately the NDP and the other opposition parties voted against those reductions for taxpayers and consumers.

Perhaps the reason for their opposition is the NDP's action plan posted on its Web site indicating that the real cost of fossil fuels is too low. That is the NDP's real position.

Energy Costs
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, what is absolutely crystal clear is the Prime Minister has absolutely no plan. That is what the answer has made clear.

He is not going to do anything about soaring and natural gas rates. He has no strategy, other than giving billions of dollars to the biggest corporations making the most profits and gouging Canadians. He certainly has no vision, despite our efforts to give him the opportunity, to lay out a vision for the new energy economy, for green jobs.

It is time for some effective solutions. We have proposed some, such as an ombudsman to help protect consumers, a home retrofit program across the country, real incentives for clean energy, instead of subsidies to tar sands. Why will he not accept our ideas?

Energy Costs
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the NDP had on its website, which it took off, an action plan that said that fossil fuel prices were artificially low. This is the real opinion of the NDP members. It is why they back every measure from the Liberals and everybody else to propose carbon taxes and higher gas taxes.

This government has given tax breaks to consumers. We are making investments for the development of alternate energy because we know fossil fuels are going to continue to rise in price over time.

We are acting, whereas all they are doing is making hypocritical criticisms.

National Defence
Oral Questions

May 15th, 2008 / 2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, on Monday my colleague from Yukon raised some very specific questions about search and rescue aircraft and the government's decision to cancel the spending that was provided in the 2004 Liberal budget. The response by the government was frankly embarrassing. Therefore, I would like to give the minister an opportunity to respond.

Why has the Conservative government done nothing to address the critical problems facing our country's aged search and rescue aircraft fleet?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary East
Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and to the Minister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, it is amazing to have a hypocritical question come from the party on that side which was responsible for the search and rescue aircraft and did not do anything.

This government has been acting. I can assure the House that we take the safety of our crew very seriously. We do not put them at undue risk. We do not fly unsafe aircraft. It is as simple as that.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, what is frankly embarrassing is that the Conservative government inherited a $13 billion surplus and it did not get the job done. The money was there and the previous Liberal government actually put it down on paper, unlike the Conservative government. The old planes are facing mechanical and technical problems. Getting parts is hard because they are not even made any more. In December they ran out of spare propellers.

When is the government going to announce a firm delivery date?